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, city (1991 pop. 115,900), N Shaanxi prov., China, on the Yen River. Now a market and tourist center, it is famed as the terminus of the long march and the de facto capital (1936–47, 1948–9) of the Chinese Communists, who established
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a city in Northwest China, in Shensi Province, in the North Shensi Basin. Yenan is served by Hsian-Paot’ou highway and is connected by air with Hsian. Industry includes a steel mill, a mineral fertilizer plant, a paper mill, and wool and knitwear factories. Oil and oil shale are extracted in the region, which contains the Yench’ang oil fields.
Yenan arose early in the Common Era on the site of a military settlement. It acquired its present name in the late sixth century. At the end of 1936, after the transfer of the main forces of the Red Army of China from the regions south and north of the Yangtze to northern Shensi Province, Yenan became the capital of the Shensi-Kansu-Ningsia Border Area, the seat of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, and the location of the general headquarters of the armed forces led by the party. On Mar. 19, 1947, it was seized by Kuomintang troops. Yenan was liberated by units of the People’s Liberation Army of China on Apr. 22, 1948.